Ken Burns Classroom

Ken Burns Films

The War

Soldiers raising the American flag
The famous photo by Joe Rosenthal on Mount Suribachi. February 23, 1945. This image would help raise millions in war bonds. Credit: The National Archives (WC-1221).

“Only the soldier really lives the war. The journalist does not — war happens inside a man — and that is why, in a certain sense, you and your sons from the war will be forever strangers. If, by the miracles of art and genius, in later years two or three among them can open their hearts and the right words come, then perhaps we shall all know a little of what it was like — and we shall know then that all the present speakers and writers hardly touched the story.”
CBS radio correspondent Eric Sevareid

The Second World War was fought in thousands of places, too many for any one accounting. This is the story of four American towns and how their citizens experienced that war.